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Manga Reading

Spent my spare time today reading manga. These are my thoughts of the titles I picked up. Spoiler-free.

Koko ni Iru Suiren - Koko ni Iru Suiren, Moriyama Daisuke

This looks to be the first story in a series of shorts by Moriyama-sensei (Chrno Crusade). It follows the story of Suiren, who seems to be a sort of shinigami. So, the series is about watching after dead people. The art is okay, the scenery presented is clean and a bit spare. Character designs are also okay. Nobody really stands out, not even Suiren, which is a disappointment. The cover art looks better than almost everything under it thus far.

"Koko ni Iru Suiren", the first story, is about how Suiren accidentally snuffs out the candle of the wrong sibling in a pair of twins. The dead twin (Megumu), borrows Suiren's body to save his living twin whose candle it was that got snuffed. It's a giant cliche from start to finish, and much lighter than what the premise suggests. As a more acute example of this, consider that the first line of Moriyama-sensei's introduction is, "Kyaaaaaaaaa! Don't lift that up any higher!" I will leave it to your imagination to figure out what that referred to.

Chrno Crusade - Kimi no Iru Mirai (Vol. 8, Chapter 56), Moriyama Daisuke

Yes, I know the ending. Volume 8, for the curious, isn't out yet. But Chapter 56 would be in that volume when it comes out, very likely in a few months. I'll probably do a very long review of Chrno Crusade Vol. 1 - Vol. 7 sometime soon, this is just the closing chapter that came out in Dragon Age this month. In line with the later volumes of CC, this chapter is drenched in those deeply inked action shots I've really come to love about the series' art. All the characters are just a delight to look at. I'd say the designs for Chrno and Rosette have gelled quite a bit since the start of the series. Chrno also seems to sport a new look in this chapter, but then again I haven't read post Vol. 7 chapters except this one. The demon bits all got subtly enhanced, and he looks less chunky than he was in early volumes. My fascination with the bone-chain-blade tail and the three extra eyes grows and grows. Look out for the character designs of the side crew as well. Sheda quietly steals the show in the closing pages, both in personality and look. I can't believe Moriyama-sensei saved her full-demon gear for last like this. Three frames is not enough.

Dialogue is tricky, since I read very limited Japanese, and this is new enough that fansubs haven't touched it yet. What I did get of the story still points to a very strong, closed ending for the major characters though, and while I'm certain I'd have enjoyed it more with the details in, I did enjoy this read a great deal. There are still holes in the plot, especially with regards to the extended cast, but it is generally hoped Volume 8's eventual talk back with have something to say about that. I'm sort of hoping they put in a bonus chapter for Vol. 8 as well. I'm guessing it was a publisher's page restriction at work here, since there seems to be a vital battle scene missing from this chapter that kind of suggests missng frames. The story does end fine even without them, but all that build-up for a couple of frames is kind of a rip-off, I think. In that way too, we get the holes. Also worth noting: Moriyama-sensei snuck the meaning of the story's end in the subtext of the chapter. A significant number of people I've read/talked to also confirm this chapter requires a second or third look to get right. Just when you think "that's how it ended!", look again. Look carefully. It's worth it, and a great touch to the story besides.

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